WaterSafe is urging homeowners to be ‘lead aware’ this week to ensure their drinking water stays fresh and healthy.
The call comes during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (October 25-31), a campaign led by the World Health Organisation to raise awareness of the devastating effects of lead worldwide.
The installation of new lead pipes to supply drinking water and the use of lead solder to join pipes has been banned in the UK for more than 25 years.
However, it is still possible to buy lead solder and cases of lead poisoning are still being recorded following its use by DIY enthusiasts or unqualified plumbers who are unaware of the danger.
Water companies recommend households and businesses use WaterSafe, an online search facility,to find recognised plumbing businesses whose plumbers have undergone specific training in the Water Fitting Regulations and Byelaws.
Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe, said: “Lead solder is about half the price of lead-free solder, so there is still a temptation for some to use it on plumbing which supplies drinking water.
“WaterSafe was set up by the water companies in the UK to help keep everyone’s water supplies safe and healthy and we would encourage anyone having work done on their household plumbing to visit our website and find a trusted and qualified plumber in their area.”
There are strict laws governing the amount of lead in drinking water and water companies regularly carry out tests on their own pipe networks and in customers’ homes.
Homes built before 1970 may have lead pipes so homeowners who believe they may have them are advised to contact their local water company for advice. The company may carry out a test to check the levels of lead in the water and will offer advice on replacing the pipes with new copper or plastic ones approved for drinking water.
For more information, download Water UK's 'Looking After Water in Your Home' booklet, produced in association with the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) or visit your local water company’s website.
To find your nearest WaterSafe approved plumbing business, use the WaterSafe plumber search or call 0333 207 9030.